NHL Rumor Mill – April 17, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – April 17, 2023

What will the Senators do with Alex DeBrincat? Should the Red Wings pursue him? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Ian Mendes noted a lot of Senators fans and media were concerned over what they considered Alex DeBrincat’s lukewarm answers on Friday regarding his future in Ottawa.

Ottawa Senators winger Alex DeBrincat (NHL Images).

Mendes indicated that DeBrincat told him that he enjoyed playing and living in Ottawa but wants some time to figure out his future. The 25-year-old winger is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer who’s also a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility.

Senators general manager Pierre Dorion has indicated his club will submit the $9 million qualifying offer to DeBrincat by the June 25 deadline. The winger’s camp has until July 15 to accept it. If they don’t, he remains a restricted free agent and his rights still belong to the Senators for 2023-24.

Mendes believes the Senators hope to negotiate a long-term contract for DeBrincat with an average annual value of less than $9 million. However, they could consider trading him if he’s only interested in accepting his qualifying offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch believes DeBrincat could be traded by the opening round of this 2023 Draft in Nashville in late June. We’ll likely know by mid-June how this situation will play out.

Turning to the Senators’ goaltending, Mendes doesn’t see pending UFA Cam Talbot returning. He believes they need to aggressively target a proven goalie for next season.

The UFA market is thin with Joonas Korpisalo, Tristan Jarry, Jonathan Quick and Frederik Andersen carrying significant questions. Mendes suggested they package some younger pieces to land a netminder via trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Garrioch recently reported Dorion sniffed around for a goalie before the trade deadline but Talbot was healthy and promising Mads Sogaard was solid through late February. With Talbot likely a goner and Sogaard possibly heading to the AHL next season, Dorion could be active in this summer’s trade market.


DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Bob Duff examined the pros and cons of the Red Wings pursuing DeBrincat. He noted that Wings GM Steve Yzerman and head coach Derek Lalonde last week indicated their team needed more scoring.

Acquiring a two-time 40-goal scorer like DeBrincat would fill that need for the Red Wings. He’s also a native of Farmington Hills, Michigan, leading Duff to wonder if he’d be open to a homecoming.

The downside is the 5’8”, 178-pound DeBrincat would be adding another small forward to a team already on the small side. There’s also his contract situation making him a risky acquisition unless he agrees to an extension as part of the deal. Duff wondered how he’d feel about joining yet another rebuilding team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings have the depth in tradeable assets to make a tempting offer to the Senators. They also have the cap space to sign him to a lucrative long-term contract.

Whether they’re willing to make that kind of major deal, however, is another matter. They’ll also have to outbid several other teams that will certainly have an interest in DeBrincat, especially given the lack of young talent in this year’s UFA market.

MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan recently noted Yzerman’s comments indicating he’ll look to the free-agent market to bolster the Wings’ offense. The Wings GM acknowledged the lack of depth in this summer’s market and how it will likely get thinner when some of those players re-sign with their current teams.

Khan speculated Yzerman could also go the trade route. He pointed out the Wings have accumulated a lot of draft capital to use as trade chips, including two first-round picks and three second-rounders in this year’s draft, and two second-rounders next year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yzerman has mostly eschewed making big trades apart from shipping Anthony Mantha to Washington at the 2021 deadline for Jakub Vrana and draft picks. That was a trade that initially looked good for both clubs but ultimately turned into a stinker.

However, Yzerman might not have much choice if this summer’s UFA market gets depleted quickly. Someone like the Senators’ DeBrincat could prove to be a tempting trade target.

NHL Rumor Mill – April 15, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – April 15, 2023

Could trading Alex DeBrincat be among some notable offseason changes for the Senators? Will the Flames consider moving Elias Lindholm or Mikael Backlund? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Alex DeBrincat is non-committal about a contract extension with the Senators. The 25-year-old winger said he’s “definitely open to anything” but he intends to discuss his future with his family and his agent.

Ottawa Senators winger Alex DeBrincat (NHL Images).

Garrioch believes that “doesn’t exactly scream that DeBrincat wants to be in Ottawa long-term, but the Senators need to find out one way or another before the NHL Draft in Nashville in June.”

TSN: Garrioch believes Senators general manager Pierre Dorion could look at trading DeBrincat if a long-term extension hasn’t been agreed to by the draft. He indicated that there have been no substantial discussions between Dorion and the DeBrincat camp.

Doiron indicated the Senators intended to make DeBrincat a $9 million qualifying offer even if there isn’t an extension in place. A restricted free agent this summer, the winger is a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeBrincat didn’t close the door on a contract extension but his comments certainly don’t sound encouraging. I can’t see Dorion hanging onto him for another season in the vain hope of changing his mind only to lose him for nothing to next summer’s free-agent market.

Dorion looks foolish for not ensuring DeBrincat would sign an extension last summer before acquiring him from the Chicago Blackhawks. The Senators gave up three draft picks in that trade, including last year’s seventh-overall selection. That trade will have blown up in Dorion’s face if DeBrincat merely accepts the qualifying offer with the intent of testing the free-agent market in 2024.

However, the Senators GM can salvage this situation if he can get a solid return in a DeBrincat trade that provides immediate roster help. He’ll likely seek a comparable player rather than a top prospect or a first-round pick as the centerpiece of such a deal. DeBrincat could draw considerable interest given that most of the big names in this summer’s UFA market are past their prime.

Garrioch believes goaltender Cam Talbot and winger Austin Watson won’t be back. Both are pending UFAs this summer. Defenseman Nick Holden was informed by Dorion that he won’t be re-signed.

In an earlier column, Garrioch wrote that goaltending is the biggest need for the Senators to address this summer. He also felt that winger Alex Formenton should be traded if he isn’t brought back. He spent the season playing in Switzerland after he and the Senators failed to reach an agreement on a new contract.

Speaking of Dorion, Ken Warren believes it’s not a certainty he and head coach D.J. Smith will be back next season with new ownership expected to take over the club in the coming weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It will be interesting to see what happens to the front office and coaching staff once the sale of the Senators is completed. The new owner could keep them intact to evaluate the club’s performance next season. Then again, perhaps they’ll come in looking to make sweeping changes in the management office and behind the bench.


TSN/CALGARY SUN: Salim Valji and Wes Gilbertson reported Mikael Backlund and Elias Lindholm sounded non-committal about re-signing with the Calgary Flames by next summer. Both forwards are slated to become unrestricted free agents in July 2024 along with winger Tyler Toffoli and defensemen Noah Hanifin, Chris Tanev and Nikita Zadorov.

Backlund, 34, said he loved Calgary and the Flames but he wants to win the Stanley Cup, adding he didn’t know what would happen if the club makes a contract extension offer this summer. Gilbertson noted Backlund’s long pause before answering a question about an extension raised eyebrows.

Meanwhile, the 28-year-old Lindholm replied, “We’ll see what happens. I’ve got one more year. Gotta look at it that way. I have one more year and that’s all I can say.” Gilbertson doesn’t feel that’s a “bring-me-a-pen proclamation”.

Valji noted that Zadorov and Toffoli were more upbeat as they expressed a willingness to get something done regarding their contracts. They also praised head coach Darryl Sutter, whose handling of the roster sparked questions among fans and media over his relationship with the players.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Randy Sportak suggested the comments coming from the Flames’ top two centers could force the club to finally bite the bullet and consider a roster rebuild. He believes it’ll be difficult to retain all their pending UFAs even if Toffoli, Zadorov, Tanev and Hanifin expressed a desire to stay.

A tough decision would be moving some of those veterans to retool the organization rather than stage a full rebuild like the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks. A tougher one would be stripping it down.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportak raises a good point that the Flames face a crossroads this season. They could keep everyone and hope for a bounce-back performance next season. Over the long run, however, a veteran-laden team can be a drain on the salary cap and make it difficult to make room for younger talent.

Much will depend on the fate of general manager Brad Treliving, whose contract expires at the end of this season. Treliving invested heavily in this roster and could be reluctant to retool if he stays on the job. If he and the Flames part ways, his replacement could opt to shake things up.

As I’ve said before, we could be seeing another summer of change in Calgary.

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 9, 2023

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 9, 2023

Kevin Hayes could be facing his final days with the Flyers while it appears Cam Talbot’s time with the Senators has drawn to a close. Check out the latest in the Easter Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.


THE ATHLETIC: Charlie O’Connor recently reported Kevin Hayes has acknowledged that his time with the Philadelphia Flyers might be on the verge of ending. “Yeah. They’re in a rebuild,” said Hayes. “So they’ve got to make decisions that they want to make.”

Philadelphia Flyers center Kevin Hayes (NHL Images).

Hayes, 30, noted that his role with the club has changed this season. He’s seen his ice time reduced as head coach John Tortorella evaluates the younger players on the roster. “They’re building for the future. You can see who’s part of it and who isn’t,” he said.

O’Connor noted that Hayes and Tortorella haven’t seen eye-to-eye this season. He also pointed out that the Flyers coach will play a major collaborative role with new general manager Daniel Briere in shaping the roster.

Around the trade deadline, Tortorella didn’t rule out the possibility of Hayes playing elsewhere in the near future. However, the veteran forward reiterated his preference to stay in Philadelphia.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Haye’s contract gives him some leverage if the Flyers hope to trade him. He’s carrying a $7.14 million average annual value through 2025-26 which will be difficult to move, especially if the salary cap only rises by $1 million this summer. Hayes also has a 12-team no-trade clause.

The Flyers could be forced to retain part of Hayes’ cap hit to make his contract more enticing in the trade market. Their other option is to take back a comparable salary. They could also buy him out but they’d be facing six years with dead cap space on their books.

As for destinations, there were rumors following the trade deadline claiming the Flyers had talked with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Carolina Hurricanes. Whether any groundwork was laid for a summer trade with either club remains to be seen.


OTTAWA SUN: That’s the opinion of Bruce Garrioch after Senators head coach D.J. Smith went with the tandem of Leevi Merilainen and Mads Sogaard for Thursday’s game against the Florida Panthers.

Talbot, 35, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent. He’s not expected to be re-signed by the Senators, who acquired him last summer after he posted a 32-12-14 record last season with the Minnesota Wild.

Injuries and inconsistency plagued Talbot this season, appearing in 35 games and being sidelined for 30 others. The Senators were willing to sign him to a one-year deal at a substantial pay cut from his current $3.66 million AAV but his camp reportedly sought a two-year extension for considerably more money.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see if the Senators stick entirely with their young goalies next season or try to add an experienced veteran via trade or free agency. As for Talbot, he’s not going to find any two-year contracts for more than $3.66 million annually on the open market given his age and injury history. He could end up regretting not accepting the Senators’ offer.

NHL Rumor Mill – April 5, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – April 5, 2023

Three teams could be willing to move first-round picks in this year’s draft, an update on Timo Meier’s contract situation plus the latest on the Blues and Senators in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen is “100 percent” open to trading the 2023 first-round pick he received from the Los Angeles Kings in the trade that sent Joonas Korpisalo and Vladislav Gavrikov to the Kings. It’s not going to be a high pick given the Kings’ place in the overall standings. LeBrun said Kekalainen would like to get a top-four defenseman as part of the package for a first-round pick.

Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen (NHL.com)

The Blue Jackets might not be the only team willing to move a 2023 first-rounder. LeBrun indicated the St. Louis Blues previously expressed a willingness to entertain offers for the first-round picks they received from the New York Rangers for Vladimir Tarasenko and the Toronto Maple Leafs for Ryan O’Reilly.

LeBrun also believes the Montreal Canadiens would be willing to trade the 2023 first-rounder they received last year from the Florida Panthers in the Ben Chiarot deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind that the Blue Jackets, Blues and Canadiens aren’t talking about listening to offers for their own first-rounders. Those picks will be in the top 10 and one of them could be first overall following the draft lottery. This year’s draft is considered a deep one so any team holding a top-10 selection won’t part with it unless they get an offer too good to pass up.

Like the Jackets, the Blues and Canadiens could be looking for a promising young NHL player in return (or part of the return) for those picks. That’s what the Canadiens did at last year’s draft, acquiring the New York Islanders pick (13th overall) and flipping it to the Chicago Blackhawks for Kirby Dach.


LeBrun also reported New Jersey Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald has met with trade-deadline acquisition Timo Meier to talk about a long-term contract for the 26-year-old winger. They see him as a core piece moving forward. However, they won’t open discussions until after the playoffs to allow Meier time to adjust to life on and off the ice with his new team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Meier is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer who’s also a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility.

The annual average value of his current contract is $6 million but he’s earning $10 million in actual salary this season. That’s how much it would cost the Devils to qualify his rights unless the two sides can work out an agreement on a deal with a more affordable AAV.


THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Jeremy Rutherford was asked which one of Blues forward Brayden Schenn and defensemen Torey Krug, Colton Parayko, Justin Faulk and Nick Leddy could be moved this summer.

He doesn’t see Schenn and Faulk going anywhere. Despite having a lot of term left on their respective contracts, they’ve been good players for the Blues.

Rutherford thinks they’d move Krug if they could but he hasn’t heard of much interest in the oft-injured 31-year-old defenseman. He believes they’d move the minute-munching Parayko in the right situation. However, they won’t give him away plus he’s got a full no-trade clause.

They could try to move Leddy and his $4 million AAV. However, the three years remaining on his contract could be too much for most teams.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues might have to look at other candidates to cut costs if they’re going to go that route this summer unless they’re willing to part with Schenn or Faulk. There was talk before the trade deadline of teams with interest in Parayko but it’s rumored he would only waive his NTC for the Edmonton Oilers.

Krug or Leddy could be bought out of their respective contract but that would eat up a lot of long-term cap space.


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch recently reported the Senators met with Cam Talbot’s agent in December to discuss a contract extension. However, the two sides weren’t close so the talks were put on hold.

It’s believed the two sides discussed a two-year deal. However, the Talbot camp sought a considerable raise over the 35-year-old goalie’s $3.5 million AAV.

The Senators wanted to see how Talbot performed down the stretch before deciding about next season but it’s not looking good for his return. He was sidelined by groin and rib injuries over that period.

NHL Rumor Mill – March 30, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – March 30, 2023

Could the Rangers re-sign Vladimir Tarasenko or Patrick Kane? What’s the latest on Cam Talbot’s contract talks with the Senators? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE ATHLETIC: In his latest mailbag segment, Arthur Staple was asked if Patrick Kane or Vladimir Tarasenko (or both) re-sign a cheap one-year contract with the New York Rangers if they fall again in the Eastern Conference Finals and return for another run at the Stanley Cup.

New York Rangers winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images)

Staple doesn’t see how both players would be back. Of the two, he speculated that Kane might be more likely to accept a discount, especially if he gets off-season hip surgery and isn’t ready for the start of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It would have to be a very cheap one-year contract to keep either guy. According to Cap Friendly, the Rangers have $12.3 million in cap space for 2023-24 with 14 roster players under contract.

Defenseman K’Andre Miller and winger Alexis Lafreniere are restricted free agents this summer plus they need to re-sign or replace backup goaltender Jaroslav Halak. That’s going to eat up a significant chunk of their cap space.


OILERS NATION: Zach Laing cited TSN 1200’s Dean Brown reporting Ottawa Senators goaltender Cam Talbot has been approached twice by the club regarding contract extension discussions. He’s heard the 35-year-old apparently seeks a deal worth close to $5 million annually. If that’s his asking price, Brown believes it’s best for the Senators to walk away.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That average annual value would be comparable to what Jack Campbell currently earns with the Edmonton Oilers. So far, that contract looks regrettable for the Oilers.

No indication in that report if Talbot wants a similar tenure (five years). Regardless of the contract length, $5 million annually is too much for a goalie who’ll turn 36 in July and has been hampered by injuries since last season.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 9, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 9, 2023

Wild extend points streak by downing the Jets, Tony DeAngelo receives a two-game suspension, an update on the sale of the Senators and Hall-of-Famer Henri Richard suffered from CTE. Details and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Minnesota Wild extended their points streak to 11 games (9-0-2) by doubling up the Winnipeg Jets 4-2. Marc-Andre Fleury made 46 saves and Marcus Foligno had a goal and an assist as the Wild (37-21-7) held second place in the Central Division with 81 points. Nino Niederreiter and Logan Stanley replied for the Jets (36-26-3) as they’ve won only twice in their last 10 games and sit in the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 75 points.

Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a costly win for the Wild as Kirill Kaprizov left the game midway through the third period after Stanley fell on him. There was no postgame update on his condition. Speaking of the Wild, forward Ryan Hartman was fined $4,594.59 for slashing Calgary Flames defenseman Rasmus Andersson on Tuesday.

The Jets, meanwhile, played without center Pierre-Luc Dubois due to an upper-body injury. It’s hoped he’ll rejoin the club at some point during its three-game road trip.

Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller scored twice, including the winner in overtime, in a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Elias Pettersson collected two assists as the Canucks improved to 27-32-5 on the season. Lukas Dostal made 31 saves for the Ducks as they dropped to 21-35-9.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of the Canucks, they recently re-signed defenseman Guillaume Brisebois to a two-year contract extension.

The Detroit Red Wings snapped a six-game losing skid by nipping the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3. Lucas Raymond and Dominik Kubalik tallied third-period goals as the Wings (29-26-9) rallied for the win. Taylor Raddysh tallied twice for the 22-37-5 Blackhawks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Red Wings forward Robby Fabbri left the game in the first period following an inadvertent knee-on-knee collision with Blackhawks forward Tyler Johnson. No word postgame regarding his condition.


NHL.COM: Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Tony DeAngelo received a two-game suspension for spearing Tampa Bay Lightning winger Corey Perry on Tuesday.

San Jose Sharks head coach David Quinn was fined $25,000.00 for comments that demeaned officials resulting in a game misconduct last Saturday.

OTTAWA SUN: Sources reveal the league received at least three bids for the Senators and possibly a fourth. There could be more as league commissioner Gary Bettman recently said as many as 15 groups were given permission to examine the franchise’s finances.

The Remington Group (a Toronto-based real estate development corporation), billionaire Michael Andlauer (part-owner of the Montreal Canadiens and sole owner of the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs), and the Kimel Family (one of Southern Ontario’s biggest real-estate developers) are believed to have made bids for the franchise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whoever wins the bidding and purchases the Senators do so with the understanding that the franchise will not be relocated to another city. The club is currently working on a plan that would bring about the construction of a new arena close to downtown Ottawa.

Speaking of the Senators, goaltender Cam Talbot has been sidelined for three weeks with a “mid-body injury.”

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Golden Knights goaltender Adin Hill missed practice yesterday with a lower-body injury.

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes have recalled goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov on an emergency basis after backup Antti Raanta left Tuesday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens with an injury.

DAILY FACEOFF: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly denied the league has any plans afoot to expand to 34 teams. His comments come following cryptic tweets by ESPN’s John Buccigross and Kevin Weekes last week showing images of Houston and Atlanta.

Expansion isn’t our priority right now,” wrote Daly. However, he didn’t rule out the league listening to groups who have interest, including Atlanta and Houston.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t rule out further NHL expansion but I have my doubts they can make it work in Atlanta again. They tried it twice and both times the franchises struggled to draw fans.

TVA SPORTS: A study of the brain of the late Hall-of-Famer Henri Richard revealed he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Richard died in 2020 after suffering from cognitive impairment during the last years of his life. The condition is caused by blows to the head.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has repeatedly rejected the link regarding blows to the head and CTE. This report will likely do little to change his mind.